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Hugh

Refusal by Felix Francis (2013)

Although Dick Francis died in 2010, his legacy of English horseracing mysteries continues under the very capable pen of his son Felix Francis. Refusal, his third novel without his father as coauthor, fits nicely into the genre. The principal is an ex-jockey who reluctantly takes up his prior vocation as a private eye to sort out blatant corruption that clearly would give a bad name to the racing sport. The novel keeps the reader in suspense wondering how the principal will keep himself and his family safe as he confronts the bad bullies attempting to fix racing results.

 
 
IPPL Staff

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (2013)

After hearing rave reviews of Louise Penny’s mystery series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, I decided to try her latest one, How the Light Gets In. The audiobook is beautifully narrated by Ralph Cosham, who captures the quaint essence of the village of Three Pines perfectly. This is the ninth book in the series and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is investigating the murder of the last remaining Ouellet quintuplet, Constance Pinot. Gamache is surrounded by a rich cast of characters from the little village that includes an eccentric poet with a duck for a pet.

Despite not having read any of the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I would like to go back and start at the beginning. A great novel with a cozy winter setting that draws you in.
Mimi

The Litigators by John Grisham (2011)

This is John Grisham at his best doing what he does best – a courtroom drama. The setting is Chicago and the lawyers claim they have a boutique law firm. In reality, they are ambulance chasers. When they get a chance at a class action lawsuit, they are in hook, line, and sinker. Their newest partner is on a learning curve and wants nothing to do with corporate law.

If you want to really see what happens in a class action courtroom, The Litigators is the book for you. It also has lots of laughs. Movie rights have already been sold.
Hugh

Spotlight: Seasons of Grace series by Beverly Lewis (2009-2010)

I enjoy listening to relaxing stories when I lay down at night and Beverly Lewis’ novels as audiobooks are just right for that purpose. These books might be called an Amish soap opera, but one where every character cares about others in the family and community. Of course there are some very troubling secrets from the past that cause a mother to first wander about the fields at night and then leave home without telling her husband or children. The oldest daughter, Grace sees her leave with the community taxi driver. Suspicion and gossip pervade the community and Grace with her new friend Heather search for Grace’s mother in out of state communities where cousins reside. Heather is an interesting character too as she, an outsider to the Amish community, has been diagnosed with cancer and elects to ignore her doctor’s advice and seek traditional cures.

Start with The Secret before moving on to The Missing and The Telling. And for more novels about the Amish, check out our bibliography titled The Plain People.
 
 
IPPL Staff

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (2012)

This novel which at first appears to be an elegant comedy of manners takes a turn for the better to become a ghost story. The story takes place in a manor house somewhere near Manchester, England, in April 1912 on the eve of Emerald Torrington's 20th birthday. Preparations are being made, guests invited, and but for The Great Central Railway everything would have gone on as planned. A dreadful accident throws the household into confusion and misbehavior.

The combination of rich with period detail, well-imagined characters and a pleasing resolution makes The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones worth picking up for a quick read.
Hugh

Inferno by Dan Brown (2013)

In Inferno Dan Brown and Robert Langdon again take us on a tour of Renaissance art and literature while spinning a thrilling tale of danger and escape. One should see Amazon.com for pictures of some of the classic sights described along the way. Also current issues like overpopulation and bioterrorism appear with some suggested solutions you may not like but you may be startled by the stark predictions.

I enjoyed this run around from Harvard to Florence to Venice to Istanbul with interludes on a large sea vessel named Mendacium. Although at first I could hardly put my tablet reader down, towards the end I became weary of the game and wanted it to end.

 
Laura

After Her by Joyce Maynard (2013)

When Rachel and Patty were kids, their dad was the detective hot on the trail of the Sunset Strangler, a serial killer who preyed on young women in their neighborhood. Thirty years later, Rachel is still searching to capture the killer. This is a can’t-put-down whodunit and a story that explores deep family bonds in a coming of age tale. Check out After Her by Joyce Maynard.
Jennifer

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes (2013)

An enthralling novel that travels from WWI France to present day London, The Girl You Left Behind will captivate you. In 1916, Sophie is living in a French town controlled by German soldiers; her most prized position is a portrait painted by her husband. In 2006, widow Liv must fight to keep her beloved honeymoon gift after the painting becomes the center of a restitution battle.

The latest from Jojo Moyes (after Me Before You) is a quick read that I couldn’t put down. If you enjoyed Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay or The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro, I think you’ll love this book
Mary

A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell (2011)

The third book in the Hannah Vogel series, A Game of Lies finds Hannah back in Berlin in response to her mentor and Peter Weil’s request that she smuggle a package out of Germany for him. Posing as a Swiss reporter and as the lover of S. S. Officer Lars Lang, Hannah meets Weil at the Olympic stadium where he dies in her arms.

Rebecca Cantrell drops the reader into the chilling atmosphere of 1930s Germany to offer a suspenseful, historical espionage novel that will appeal to Alan Furst fans.
Elizabeth

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (2006)

This scary psychological novel will stay with you long after you turn the last page. In Sharp Objects, a young reporter from Chicago travels back to her hometown in Missouri to try to find answers concerning two recent murders of young girls. It’s very hard to put down between chapters, and of course, comes complete with a surprise ending. Creepy!

Check out all of Gillian Flynn’s novels at the library.
Mary S.

Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin (2009)

I am not usually a fan of medieval historical fiction, but this compelling book held my interest. Set in twelfth century England and Wales, Adelia Aguilar, a doctor and forensic expert, is asked by King Henry II to investigate claims that two skeletons found near the burned Glastonbury Abbey belong to King Arthur and Guinevere. Because of the times, Adelia has to pretend to be assisting Mansur, her servant, when solving crimes. A subplot deals with Adelia’s travelling companion Emma, widow of Lord Wolvercote, who is attempting to win back his lands and castle.

The characters are well developed, and there is a nice balance between historical details and suspense. Grave Goods is the third book in Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar (Mistress of the Art of Death) series, but you don’t have to read the first two to enjoy this one.

 
IPPL Staff

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (2012)

A thriller without a trail of blood and gore and an author with expertise in the art world, B.A. Shapiro takes us underground to the history and methods of art forgery. When a struggling artist commits to do a reproduction of a famous painting by Degas, the action begins. The plot twists and turns between the past and the present, but I was never confused; rather, I was fascinated by Shapiro’s knowledge in the art world. The Art Forger races to an ending that left me hoping this author will write another book.
Theresa

The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell (2007)

Fans of The Goon will go into Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker not knowing what to expect. But the first page says it all: "this ain't funny."

The Goon is an Eisner Award-winning comic series about a zombie-killing gangster and his stab-happy partner in a 1930s/1940s pastiche of a town overrun by monsters, and known for its black (and at times, quite slapstick) humor. But Chinatown is a marked departure, instead focusing on the titular character Goon's mysterious past and the reasons for his scarred face and heart. Writer and artist Eric Powell pulls it off beautifully, the almost purely black-and-white art evoking the clear noir influences that have always been present in the darker stories in The Goon.
After the publication of Chinatown, the regular series took a more dramatic shift, while still maintaining its black comedy elements. For this reason, it's both essential for fans of the series and a good jumping off point for new readers.

 
IPPL Staff

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli (2012)

This is at once a modern family saga of the Brands, who have produced generations of thieves, con men, and crooks, but it also story of two brothers. One brother, wild Collie, is in prison, waiting to die for the brutal, senseless, massacre of eight people; the other brother, Terry, a man with regrets, left the family for five years but has returned because Collie needs him to solve a mystery. Now there is twist. Collie claims one of the victims was killed by serial killer, who is flying under the radar and will continue to kill more women.

And so the reader enters the world of the dark side. Is there honor among thieves? Is loyalty to the family their strange salvation? Will Terry find his own core? Wasn't the "good thief" the first to enter heaven?

This book is more than crime fiction; it explores the psychological effects of one man against his environment who dares to find peace. The author is the winner of the International Thrillers Writers Award and rightly so. Check out The Last Kind Words today.
IPPL Staff

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diane Wagman (2012)

Winnie, a mom and ex-wife to a famous game show host and daughter of a movie star, is kidnapped and she doesn't really understand the motive behind it. As the novel goes on, clues are revealed. The book is told from numerous points of view and the characters are very well developed for as short as the book is.

According to a Booklist review, "The novel is a darkly humorous and occasionally violent exercise in suspense, and a dramatic exposition of the Stockholm syndrome. Wagman does a nice job of lending her characters psychological depth and creating a fast-paced, readable plot."

Check out The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diane Wagman.